Sensor failure causes chaos on the train tracks

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Eastbourne commuters faced a day of delays during the week after track sensor fails caused chaos on the rails.

Trains were cancelled and held up on Tuesday, September 23 due to a faulty piece of equipment at the Haywards Heath tunnel.

Due to the sensor failure, trains were being forced to stop outside the entrance before being talked through by railway staff.

The problem caused delays of up to an hour on trains from the coast to the capital city, with 13 services being cancelled altogether. These included the 6.26pm London Victoria to Brighton, the 5.30pm Brighton to Ashford International, the 5.57pm London Victoria to Seaford and the 7.10pm London Victoria to Horsham.

The sensor failure was first reported at 7.10am and trains were still being affected up until the early-evening rush hour.

A National Rail spokesperson said, “There was a fault with a piece of equipment called the track circuit, which detects where trains are on the line and, in turn, prompts the signals.

“That was intermittently faulty and it is designed to be rail-safe, so it turned all the signals to red.

“This caused considerable disruption and we are very sorry about that.”

He assured people that the fault posed no safety risk to train passengers. Engineers fixed the fault by mid-afternoon but the knock-on effect meant problems continued throughout Sussex long after the situation was rectified.

Southern bosses now face a compensation bill of thousands of pounds under their delay-repay scheme. Any journey delays by 30 minutes or more against the published train schedule (including train cancellation) will be compensated.

A number of passengers took to Twitter to vent their frustrations at the delays, including BBC journalist Jonny Cassidy who wrote, ‘A beautiful morning of mayhem and confusion courtesy of Southern Rail, whose incompetence knows no bounds’.

Southern Rail also used social media to keep customers aware of all the delays and cancellations. A number of trains were also terminated at stations before their scheduled final destination.

Southeastern Railway, South West Trains and London Underground all accepted Southern Rail tickets to help passengers reach their destination as soon as possible.